Brands have made great progress in raising the performance and reducing the weight of their bike lights over the last decade. The latest powerful lights like Olight bike lights, which generate significantly more light per watt than older halogen or metal-halide bulbs with have more reliable rechargeable internal batteries, which pack more power into smaller packages, are driving this development. As a result, smaller, lighter systems can produce brighter lights with similar or longer run times.
When and where will the lights be used?
A simple front and rear LED light should suffice if you drive during the day or at regular times when the light is poor. If you travel before sunrise or after sunset, you’ll need a brighter front headlight and a flickering taillight. Remember that the brightness of the ambient light, the brighter the device you’ll need for visibility. Rear blinkers with 15 lumens can appear bright after dark, but they are challenging to see in direct sunlight.
Health agencies, state governments, and land managers have reassessed their recommendations regarding the ongoing pandemic, restricting riding and access. Trail riding at night is no longer as secure or as accessible as it once was. However, more people than ever depend on bicycles for transportation, and many of the lights like Olight RN3500 Bike Light make your ride easier and safer.
Do you need a single rear light or a complete set?
If you ride during the day and your budget doesn’t allow for a complete, light kit, start with a rear blinker, which will help you be seen from behind. You can always buy a front light later, especially if you start riding before and after daylight when you’ll want to see not only what’s in front of you but also what’s in front of other motorists. However, keep in mind that purchasing the front and rear lights as a package or bundle will sometimes result in a small discount.
Where Would You Like Your Light to Be Mounted?
The majority of headlights attach to the handlebar, but some versions can also be attached to the helmet. The handlebar mount is an excellent place to start because it’s more stable and doesn’t rely on a tight helmet fit for consistent illumination. Helmet mounts are better for night mountain bike rides where you want the light to follow your gaze rather than the bike’s direction. If you have two headlights, a helmet mount may also be an excellent secondary location because the various beam patterns fill in shadowed areas and provide more even illumination.
Is Brightness the Only Thing That Matters?
Lumens are a measurement of a system’s overall light intensity and are commonly used to rate lights. It isn’t flawless, but it is a good indicator of brightness. Other important considerations include beam pattern (how large and far the light reaches and how uniformly it illuminates), which is highly reliant on the geometry of the light’s reflector. Some companies, such as the Olight Store UK, have comparison tools on their websites displaying how their beam patterns compare to their competitors.
What should you be on the lookout for, and what should you stay away from?
When shopping for new bike lights, look for things like durable, IPX water-resistance rating, and non-slip attachments. A light body should be easily adjustable and removable for charging and theft protection, battery warning lights, or sounds that let you know when it’s time to recharge the device. Anything that isn’t a purpose-built bike light should be avoided. You can duct-tape a Maglite to your handlebar—handlebar mounts are available—but that doesn’t make it a bike light.
How We Conducted Our Research
Our team of researchers and editors has carefully checked each light while picking the best one. To decide the best choices, we conduct market research, survey customer feedback, talk with product managers and engineers and draw on our own experience with these lights. Then we spend a lot of time riding for a long time, pushing the boundaries of these lights’ versatility by using them for both their intended and unintended purposes. We’ve taken them to and from work, used them for nighttime road and trail walks, and even put one through the washing machine unintentionally to measure its water resistance. We used real-world usage to determine battery life, even though it meant riding the last mile or two home at nighttime when the light went out. We also considered their aesthetics because these items are meant to live on our bikes, and everything else on our bikes is meant to look good.